A message to the openDemocracy conference Syria's peace: what, how, when? from Syrian writer and Arab Awakening blogger, Rita.
Between thousands of things I want to say, the many great people I would be honoured to talk about, and the lots of exceptional moments still living in my memory, this is what came to my mind first.
About three months ago Ayham Ghazzoul, a dentist and a postgraduate student at Damascus University, was killed under brutal torture inside Medicine school. This was done in front of his fellow students and professors; and it was done by the shabbiha - some of whom had even taken the Hippocratic Oath. No one could have helped him; he was left to die without even being taken to hospital. Ayham was a peaceful activist and a former detainee, yet his killing wasn't political but borne out of grudge and power display.
Two days later, the same group of University shabiha killed another medicine student – again under torture. And then another student was thrown from the third floor in the dormitory. And so on.
It has been nearly two years since our uprising began. I no longer recognize myself, nor my country. Everything has changed.
Where is Syria now? Syria is a country where random killing has become an everyday occurrence for some of its citizens, and an interesting sideshow for others. The State's sites of torture, misery and death are no longer confined to detention centers belonging to the repressive security apparatus; even universities are now playgrounds for murderers and thugs.
Away from politics which I don't really understand, away from your theories, debates and analysis, my people are being killed systematically and all of your well-meaning words seem helpless in all of this. The situation In Syria is no more political, it is a wholesale purposive destruction of a society. Whatever the result of this conflict will be, spilled blood will not dry; and millions of refugees will never forget the humiliation of waiting aid cars for hours under the falling snow.
If anything has to be made, if anything has to be discussed it should be how to stop this breakdown of society and this legitimization of criminality.
This will help us to collect our breath. Then we can tackle politics.
Hopefully we will have real politicians at that time, instead of the chess players we have now.
Rita from Syria